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Poor Little Dreidel

Hanukkah dreidels isolated on white

A great miracle happened here. Or nes gadol hayah sham.

That is the meaning ascribed to the four Hebrew letters on the sides of the dreidel.

For those whose December symbol is a tall, Northwester Fir Tree, a dreidel is an unknown word. For those whose December symbol is a Menorah, a dreidel is a spinning top used in game played by kids at Chanukah.

Chanukah and Christmas are both celebrations of momentous events in Jewish and Christian history. As the dreidel suggests, these were miraculous moments. Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem following a successful revolt against a religious oppressor; Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus. And they both occur in December, closely separated. In 2019, the distance apart was only three days so that the eighth day Chanukah celebration coincided with the first days of the Christmas festival. What an example of togetherness!

While I saw Boy Scout Christmas tree lots, U-cut Christmas tree farms, trees bundled on SUV roof tips, and a fake tree at my ALF (there was a needle-dropping one, too), and our ALF travelled to gaze at the local Christmas lights around town, I never saw a candle-lighted (or fake electric candles) Mennorah.

Tsk-tsk. Poor lonely, little dreidel.

Dick Weinman is an AARP volunteer and our Assisted Living Guru.;

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